Monday, October 15, 2018

Going to the theatre with Jackie O.

Since a number of people who read my post yesterday asked about my brush with Jacqueline Onassis, I thought I would reprise a post I wrote on this a few years ago.

Yes, I went to the theatre with Jackie O.

Okay, pick yourself off the floor.

We didn’t go together in the sense of “arrive” together, but we did sit together.

You’re still not buying it, but it’s true.

Backstory: Larry Gelbart had a play on Broadway called SLY FOX. (Needless to say it was hilarious.) My wife and I were in New York and Larry arranged for us to have his house seats.

We sit down, third row center, settle in and I glance to my left. Holy shit! It’s Jackie.  In the seat right next to me. 

During intermission I decide to get up and go to the lobby. As I pass by her I rub up against her knees (which were bony by the way).  Okay, that was a dorky thing to do, but that was my brush with greatness.

The next day I called Larry and thanked him for the tickets. I mentioned that Jackie O. sat right next to me. He got very excited. “Did she laugh? What did she laugh at?” I said, “Yes, and hey, you never asked whether my wife and I liked the show.” He apologized, asked us, then wondered if I could remember any specific lines Jackie laughed at.

I’d like to say that’s my favorite Jackie/theater story, but it’s not. Supposedly she was at a theater and bumped into Stephen Sondheim. She asked what he was working on. He had to really hedge. How do you tell Jackie Kennedy you’re working on a musical called ASSASSINS?


Peter said...

I hope you casually said to your wife out loud "I really love writing Cheers. You know, that sitcom set in Boston, Massachusetts", and then looked over to see if Jackie had heard.

For anyone who hasn't seen it, I recommend watching JACKIE. It's a beautiful film and Natalie Portman is amazing.

Matt said...

bony 😂 Of course bony, how else would it be?

Now can we have a post on your brush with Natalie, please.

Brian Phillips said...

FRIDAY QUESTION: Have you had to be concerned with issues of product placement? Was there ever any intrusion by the manufacturer on the writing of the episode/film?

Anonymous said...


I agree about the movie Jackie. I do think the music director needed to be recognized for his music selections. It was very disconcerting at times and I had such visceral reactions. Very good movie.

Pam, St. Louis

Mary Stella said...

I almost knocked Mrs. O. over. Mid-1980s at the Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center, I was checking out what I thought were balcony seats but had stuck my head inside a private box during intermission. I backed my way out - and right into someone. I did one of those apologize-while-turning-bits as in, "Oh, I'm so sor -- *Yelp* I'm really so sorry, Mrs. Onassis!"

I was about twice her weight so it really is fortunate that she stayed upright. She was so gracious and told me that it was quite all right, no harm done.

At the end of the evening, my mother and I were leaving our seats on the Orchestra floor and saw her making her way down the stairs to "limo level". On the steps, it was like the parting of the Red Sea. The crowd automatically split to either side of the staircase while she descended.

I'm tough on former first family members. I accidentally jabbed Chip Carter in the end with the end of a ballpoint pen once, too.

John in NE Ohio said...

The best one of these I saw, I cannot remember the show. It was one of those romcom detective shows that are all over USA/TNT/etc, but we watched it on Netflix. When we were binging it, it was real obvious that whatever car company it was had paid for placement. All the sudden, everyone is driving one. Then, they start commenting in passing = "Oh, I never need my keys anymore, my new $$$ has a keyless start." "Fold down the third row so we can get all this in there" etc. About the 5th or 6th episode of them being obvious, one of them just goes into a full on ad about the engine or mileage or something. The person they're talking to, goes "What the heck are you doing?!?" "Just doing my job.", and looks at the camera. Hey, if you gotta do it, might as well have some fun with it.

Cowboy Surfer said...

I had a friend who dated this girl and her dad's ex-wife's cousin had a housekeeper who had an adopted son that delivered a pepperoni and pineapple pizza to Sandra Oh...It's like we're connected or something cause I like pizza too, except for the pineapple.

Mike Bloodworth said...

What was Jackie wearing? She was probably asking for it.

Once again, sarcasm.

K said...

So bit like the picture of Bill Clinton shaking JFK's hand during high school trip.
So now you qualify in the 7 degrees of separation to JFK and all so many other people ( DeGaulle)

Roman said...

Hello Ken, been reading your blog for a copule of years but postint for the first time.
Question(s): I'm watching Cheers, all the seasons, on streaming for the first time. I was a kid when it was on tv. It seems that all the episodes have just one commercial break (not counting the one after the cold opening and, I'm guessing, one before the credits). It aired like that or it was edited like this for streaming and dvd?
And, in the 8th season, there are a lot of shots where the image is of terrible quality, it looks like video and not film (and terrible quality for video even). Again, did the show aired like that of it was reedited for some reason for distribution?
Thanks and love your blog!
PS: It would be great if your blog could have some sort of search option, sometimes I watched an episode and want to know if you write something about it (for example the one with Kevin McHale) and have to do a google search because otherwise the only option is to browse all the post titles in the archives =/

Jahn Ghalt said...

Roman - here's a search option - works well for many blogs:

Google Advanced Search

Put search term in "all these words" and/or "this exact word or phrase" (and/or other boxes)

Lower down - in "site or domain" enter blog URL

For Ken's enter:

Pat Reeder said...

My brother Mike once had a similar unexpected close encounter in a theater. Years ago, he took his college girlfriend to the Dallas Summer Musicals. As was tradition, producer Tom Hughes made a pre-show speech where he mentioned that the next show coming soon would be a variety special starring Ginger Rogers. Mike asked Mary Jane if she had ever seen any Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire films. She said no, and he told her she had to see them, that they were the greatest dance team ever, the absolute epitome of style and grace, and that nobody could make films like that anymore.

He felt someone tap him on the shoulder, and he turned around. Sitting right behind him was Ginger Rogers. She said, "Thank you, young man." He was so freaked out that he couldn't tell us anything about the show he saw that night because all he could think of all evening was that Ginger Rogers was sitting right behind him, looking at the back of his head and overhearing whatever he said.

Kaleberg said...

I had a friend who carded Jackie O at the Radcliffe dorm. No one was supposed to be admitted with ID, even if she had a daughter there.

Kaleberg said...

Another way to search a particular site is the "site:" prefix, as in:

Search for -> "natalie wood"

It's far from perfect though. The search above only found 687 hits. That's way too low.

Anonymous said...

I see that this is a rather old post to comment on, but I don't pass by here all that often, and so usually just scroll through a bunch of posts at once, so hopefully my two cents isn't too late. Anyway, the reason this caught my eye was because I recalled reading it in 2016, and the first thought I had when re-reading it now was how much current conversations around "appropriate" behavior have shifted in even 2 years. In fact, your story had actually popped into my head a few months ago when reading an online NYT article, "At the College That Pioneered the Rules on Consent, Some Students Want More" by Katherine Rosman. Goodness- I suspect it wouldn't go over very well with most college students' mothers if their children came home and declared verbal consent was now required for hugging ( said mothers might bring up the fact that said children lived inside of them for 9 months without asking first). I suppose it's probably just youthful earnestness, that will (hopefully), as they mature, be redirected towards useful social change. I could even agree a little; one of my pet peeves is people ( at work) who tap me on the shoulder when they could have just said something--actually, the more I think about how much that pisses me off the more I think I could actually get behind this "no-touching" worldview. Not sure where knee brushing falls on that list, though I'm guessing that sidling by a celebrity with the hope of fleeting physical contact probably makes it a premeditated crime ( though you could pursue an insanity defense- as in it would be an insane opportunity to pass up). And on that lame joke, farewell.